Saturday, February 20, 2016

Friday Night With Friends: Between the Frying Pan and the Fire

Tonight's Friday Night with Friends guest blogger is Michelle Shepherd. She's a wife, mother of two, and a wonderful writer. Michelle is the granddaughter of my friend, Sue Freeman. I think you'll love this article. Be sure to share lots of love with her. We'll want to hear from her again.

Between a rock and a hard place, or a frying pan and a fire, or maybe just, some soft grass and the busy street

Friday, I had to go to my office for a quick meeting.  I decided to take Maggie and John Deacon with me.  It was a beautiful morning, sunny with a slight breeze, just a little chilly, but still comfortable.  Maggie insisted on wearing an outgrown owl costume over her clothes, but it was adorable.  

We parked around the block.  The thought of the double stroller passed through my head, but I dismissed it quickly.  I thought this would just be a brief, pleasant walk anyway.  So we walked into the office, John Deacon in my left arm, diaper bag on my right arm, and Maggie holding my right hand. 

She skipped the whole way, even singing.  Passers-by stopped and smiled at all of us. If I had a theme song, it would have been playing as we walked along the cobblestone.  It was really all quite idyllic. 

After the meeting, we gathered up all of our things.  Two small children require carrying a lot of stuff. We walked down the stairs, in the same formation as before, but something was different.  
In my parenting, there is an uncontrollable variable, and it’s my 2.75 year old’s behavior. Maybe not totally uncontrollable, but my grip on it is tenuous at best.   Her father and I can teach her what we think is right or appropriate, but whether she does it or not,well that’s up to her.  Her behavior is dependent on her 2.75 year old view of the world (which is more than a little frightening). 
So, when Maggie decided that holding my hand was so 45 minutes ago, the potential consequences never seemed as dire to her, as they did to me. 

Just picture it.  A frazzled mama with a baby in one arm and diaper bag slung on the opposite shoulder chasing a small sprite of a girl down a sidewalk.  The little, beautiful angel shouting at her mother, “NO! I said, No! Don’t hold my hand, mama.  Don’t. Hold. My. Hand.” 

I was at a loss.  I couldn’t run as quickly as she was because I didn’t want to drop John Deacon.  Then things got worse, she started veering towards the street.  

In a moment of clarity, I saw my two choices, the rock or the hard place.  The frying pan or the fire.  The small 2X2 bed of grass in the middle of the sidewalk or the busy road.  I’m not really proud of what I did.  My husband says that I made a combat decision.

I took the diaper bag off my right shoulder, swung it, and knocked my precious child into the soft bed of grass. She fell on her hands, and she wasn’t hurt.  But she was stunned, I took advantage of that moment to hold her by the arm and walk to the car.  

The rest of the walk/drag to the car she screamed. 

“Don’t Hold My Hand!!!!” 

“No, Mama!” 

She was caught in a loop. She made her whole body a limp noodle, the way only 2.75 year olds can be.  

Y’all, we got to that car and my keys were back in the spot where I knocked her over with the diaper bag.  We had to go all the way back and get them.  She just kept on screaming.

Finally, we made it back to the car with keys in hand.  I waited until Maggie calmed down, and we had a real discussion about why holding hands on the sidewalk was so important.  I had to put a little fear in her, which broke my heart.

The whole event, while funny, was also sort of traumatic for us both.  I hit my daughter with a diaper bag and knocked her down on a busy sidewalk where anyone could have seen or judged me.  Maggie never even realized her own mother had done that to her.  She thought she fell down. 
And after talking to my husband about it,  the story became something else to me. 

Lord, how many times have I been my daughter? 

I can’t even count the number of times I’ve been walking with the Lord, holding his hand, but then deciding to run ahead alone.  

And what if some of those hard places I’ve been, some of those frying pans, were really the Lord knocking me down to keep from the fire? 

Maybe, when I thought I was going through something awful, I was just facedown and humiliated in the soft bed of grass, and God was keeping me out of the dangerous, deadly road.

Hebrews 12:6 tells us “the Lord disciplines the one He loves…”

Lord, how many times did you have to drag me lovingly to a safe place, while I fought and told you no?  For your thoughts are not my thoughts and your ways are not my ways. (Isaiah 55:8)
How could I ever thank God enough for choosing the bed of grass over the road for me? 

Someday, Maggie and I will talk about Friday again. Someday, I will tell her the whole story.  I can only hope to know all the ways God has delivered me.  Even if I never know all the small ways He saved me, I know that if there’s an opportunity to work things for good, He does. 

“For now we see indistinctly, as in a mirror, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I will know fully, as I am fully known.” 1 Cor 13:12 

Today, I’m praising the Lord for working things together for good, even when my small, human perspective says differently.
You can read more by Michelle at her blog:
#fridaynightwithfriends #michelleshepherd #leannahollis #linesfromleanna